Acting Principal John Crowley told reporters today there would be a review of the school’s child protection policies and procedures, and a new Director of Safeguarding would be appointed.
The move comes after former headmaster Stephen Russell resigned following reports on ABC’s Four Corners that he provided a reference for former sports coach Peter Kehoe after he was found guilty of grooming Year 9 student Paris Street.
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The former dean of sport Luke Travers, who also provided a character reference for Kehoe, was also formally stood down from his position pending an investigation.
Deputy head Janet Canny was stood down following allegations she responded inappropriately to a teacher’s complaints about further child-grooming allegations.
Mr Crowley today refused to give further details about why a further two teachers, Gary Jones and Simon Parris, had both concluded their employment at St Kevin’s.
Mr Crowley said he had reached out to students who shared their stories of sexual abuse on Four Corners and held up former student Paris Street and his friend Ned O’Brien as role models.
“When I met with the senior boys last week,” Mr Crowley said, “I made it clear to them that it was really important for us to acknowledge the bravery and the courage of those young men, Paris and Ned, who stood up and used their voice to be able to say what had happened to them.”
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Mr Crowley said he had “zero tolerance” for any risk to children.
“It’s very clear some serious mistakes were made,” he said.
“We need to respond to those with honesty, integrity and acknowledge that we need to move forward into the future with a child safe culture.”
He has also had conversations with students about their behaviour in public after footage of students chanting a derogatory chant on a tram last year went viral and drew widespread criticism.
As the principal of St Patrick’s College in Ballarat for 23 years, Mr Crowley took action to remove the name of Cardinal George Pell from a school building and alumnus honour roll after the senior cleric was found guilty of abusing two choirboys.
St Patrick’s was also the first school in Victoria to sign up to a child protection curriculum that teaches children how to recognise child abuse.